What is Staff Augmentation? Here’s What You Need to Know to Succeed in it

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Julia Sakovich , Author at Geomotiv
Reviewed by Egor Zablotski, Director of Engineering at Geomotiv
Published: Jun 26, 2023

The sooner you hire a new developer for the project, the more chances you will outperform your closest competitor and release a new feature that will rock the market. The right specialist can become a secret weapon in achieving business goals you would otherwise not succeed in. However, headhunting and onboarding can take a lot of time that you don’t have. Are there any other solutions?

One of them is IT staff augmentation. Let’s discuss this form of cooperation with remote development teams, explain staff augmentation service what it is, and discover what the benefits of staff augmentation in 2023 are.

But first, let’s analyze the current state of the IT hiring market.

The State of IT Hiring Market

Today, when the coronavirus pandemic is officially over, the state of things in the IT job market continues to resemble the pre-pandemic situation. The market is growing, but its growth rates are slower than they used to be some years ago.

The State of IT Job Market
Source: https://e-janco.com/career/employmentdata.html

Let’s look at the recent changes in the number of posted tech jobs in the US. According to Janco Associates, an IT employment consultancy agency, in 2019, there were around 90,000 new positions, while in 2022, this figure was significantly more impressive as companies were looking for 267,000 tech specialists. Does it mean that 2023 will be even more successful for the industry? Unfortunately, analysts do not have very optimistic predictions. Janco's initial forecast reveals that the number of new IT jobs expected to be added in 2023 is around 60,000-70,000.

During uncertain times, the tech labor market has adapted to the most in-demand skills for software developers. Due to a massive shift to remote work and reliance on cloud technologies, the majority of businesses plan to adjust investments around work-from-home specialists to upskill their employees.

Planned Changes to Investments in IT Staffing Worldwide
Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1106203/planned-changes-investments-it-staffing/

The shift to remote work is one of the factors that shaped the IT hiring market in 2020 and 2021. And it is interesting that in 2023 this factor is still ruling the market. Even though many companies have decided to return to their office life, it seems that many businesses have fully accepted the rules of the “remote work” game and will never return to offices, at least in their classic meaning.

The analysts at Hired studied the markets with the highest average salaries for software engineers from May to December 2022. They found that remote developers got higher salaries than the same markets can offer for the local roles.

Hired's report mentions that engineers with expertise in NLP, blockchain, and security get the highest salaries. As for technologies, Ruby on Rails, Ruby, Scala, and Go are among the most highly-demanded skills today.
But how long does it take to fill a position in the IT industry? According to a study provided by LinkedIn in 2021, it took 44 days to hire a specialist in the Information Technology industry on this platform. Another study cited by HRDrive, states that hiring for development roles was 43 days for large companies in 2020. Smaller businesses could expect to wait almost 30 days to accept a job offer. In 2023, HireVue reported that depending on the exact industry, the time to fill in a position varies from 14 to 63 days.

Finding the right developer becomes a challenge, so many companies opt for resource and staff augmentation. This option enables the employer to access a wide array of business advantages which we will further tackle in the article. Meanwhile, let’s get down to the basics of this form of cooperation with the outsourcing service provider.

What is Staff Augmentation?

In today’s business world, outsourcing services have become more than a modern trend. This approach of establishing cooperation with different experts has become a standard in many industries. And the software development market is one example of such a sphere. When it comes to hiring engineers and other tech specialists, many businesses prefer different outsourcing models to in-house hiring. And one of them is resource and staff augmentation. But what is the meaning of staff augmentation? Let’s dive deeper into this topic.

Definition of Staff Augmentation

According to a traditional staff augmentation definition, it is one of the outsourcing types that helps employers fill open tech positions using an external talent pool of the particular vendor.

It allows businesses to expand the knowledge and skills of the internal team with additional tech capabilities.

This model implies that it is necessary to assess the scarcity of skills in the existing staff and then determine which additional specialists to source and recruit. As for the hiring process, these specialists are employed through a staff augmentation company responsible for every legal, operational, and HR procedure. 

Roughly speaking, this form of cooperation frees the client from the necessity of headhunting. But in the end, they receive quality employees that are dedicated to the project and motivated to deliver it on time, just like an in-house team. The exception is that the vendor takes overall organizational and administrative hassles instead of the client.

Yes, the vendor supplies specialists but doesn’t deal with the project’s technical and business decisions. It is the talent resource you get as a result of the collaboration. Do you face a tech talent shortage in your local labor market? Do you figure out that the recruitment will take an eternity?

That’s where the staff augmentation meaning is hidden:

  • it lets you invest in resources rather than obtaining the service;
  • it helps to extend the team quickly;
  • it helps to streamline sourcing, hiring, and recruiting;
  • it gives access to highly-skilled, motivated, and talented people.

How Does Staff Augmentation Work?

The exact process of building cooperation with the specialists provided to you by the vendor may slightly differ depending on the outsourcing company that you will work with. Nevertheless, the general principle always stays the same.

When you realize the necessity to enrich your team with new experts with particular skills, you must turn to a company that provides staff augmentation services and share your requirements.

The company will analyze your project's specificity and expectations to find the most appropriate candidates to fill the existing gaps. As a rule, you can conduct interviews to approve the list of specialists who will join your team.

This model ensures great flexibility, which means that when you do not require the help of the hired tech experts anymore or vice versa if you want to add new talents, all these changes are straightforward to implement.

What is a Staff Augmentation Contractor?

A staff augmentation contractor can be defined as a company that provides outsourcing services.

In our case, we will talk about agencies that work in the software development industry and have access to the talent pool, including software engineers, QA engineers, UI/UX designers, project managers, business analysts, and other tech specialists.

As a rule, a good contractor is ready to offer you different business models that you can choose from to build your interaction with developers in the most comfortable way.

We recommend you be very attentive when choosing an IT partner as this company will perform many responsible tasks related to the specialist who will work on your project.

It will always be a good idea to research the market carefully, study the company’s website, the list of offered services, and terms of cooperation. You can also read the reviews written by the company’s clients to understand better what you can expect from this cooperation.

But to fully enjoy the cooperation with your partner, ensure all the terms and conditions are clearly stated in a signed contract. What is a staff augmentation contract? That’s an agreement that regulates all the aspects of your interaction with the vendor, including fees, working hours of the hired specialists, terms and regulations of cooperation, etc.

Speak with our IT staff augmentation professionals to learn more about this form of cooperation.

How Can Staff Augmentation Help Your Business?

  1. Cost-efficiency. Staff augmentation model is a profitable alternative to in-house hiring as it enables you to cut costs on employing and retaining internal specialists. As the vendor is responsible for arranging the office space, its infrastructure, and other administrative issues, you only have to pay for the result of the work of their specialists.
  2. Saved time. With staff augmentation, you can fill the gaps in your current team in less time. Especially when it comes to hard-to-fill or temporary positions, IT resource augmentation lets you leverage an extensive talent pool of the offshore region. Even if you require highly-demanding roles on a per-project basis, this model offers the most attractive terms of cooperation.
  3. Flexibility. The model gives the flexibility to increase or decrease the size of your staff as per ongoing needs. When the workload increases, you can augment your team with relevant specialists to avoid overtime. On the other hand, the resource augmentation model helps avoid overstaffing your in-house team when there is no need to handle vast amounts of work.
  4. Productivity and dedication. When entrusting the project to external software developers, the clients get exclusive access to competent specialists with expertise. As a result, they can quickly understand business requirements and translate them into working software. Besides, they remain 100% focused on a particular project without switching attention to other projects and tasks.
  5. Access to a wide pool of talents. When looking for in-house specialists, your geography of search is typically limited to those cities where you have your offices. But in the case of resource augmentation, there are no restrictions related to this factor. That’s why if specialists with the required expertise live on another continent, it won’t be an obstacle to your cooperation.
  6. Sustained management and control. Many businesses prefer not to turn to project outsourcing because they feel that, in such a case, they lose control over the process and the final result. However, with staff augmentation, there are no issues of this kind. You will fully control your team, including newly added specialists.

When to Use Staff Augmentation Services?

When looking at all the advantages you can leverage if you opt for staff augmentation, it may seem that it is a perfect model that will be suitable in every case. But is it so? We should highlight that there aren’t any “one-size-fits-all” solutions. It means that while in some cases this model is the best one, in some other situations, it may bring more pains than gains. 

That’s why before deciding on the feasibility of staff augmentation in your case, we offer you a look at our recommendation on when to turn to this model.

  • When you already have your in-house IT department. Staff augmentation is a good variant when you already have tech experts but inner resources are not enough to fulfill all the tasks within the project.
  • When you need to hire new specialists fast. Staff augmentation is an excellent way to streamline the hiring process. You do not need to look for the specialists on your own, it is enough just to establish cooperation with a vendor with access to a rich talent pool. From your side, you do not need to allocate time and resources for headhunting and onboarding.
  • When you have strong management, It’s important not to forget that in the case of IT staff augmentation, you should manage the team's work independently. If you can’t ensure the required project management, choosing another option is better.
  • When you are looking for people with niche or rare expertise. Thanks to outsourcing in general and staff augmentation in particular, your search area is not limited to your local market. You can work with experts worldwide who possess the required expertise and knowledge.

Common Challenges of IT Staff Augmentation and How to Address them

Communication Hurdles and Language Gaps

Although the remote-first character of work has become a new normal in tech fields, lack of efficient communication can hinder productivity and the end product’s quality. Moreover, virtual meet-ups can become a phantom menace if the chosen service provider lacks professional communication skills. 

The level of English proficiency of your augmented team is also one of the crucial factors to consider. For example, if IT staff has trouble communicating project issues to the client, it can take longer to resolve them. Other challenges may arise when there is a lack of clear communication between the parties. As a result, clients may question the value of staff augmentation services and seek other ways to complete the project. 

How can clients address that challenge?

  • check the English proficiency skills of the team members before signing a contract;
  • set up a procedure for answering emails, messages, and calls with a clear time frame;
  • agree on collaboration tools for consistent communication and management: Jira, Slack, Zoom, Github;
  • conduct regular reviews of the work done by an augmented team.

Misalignment of Expectations

One of the things that can go wrong with software development staff augmentation is conflicting expectations of the two teams: in-house and external. As a result, one of them can have a somewhat different understanding of what the end product is going to look like. You might have guessed which one we mean by saying so. Yes, an augmented team is usually to blame for that.

How can clients address that challenge?

  • provide clear documentation;
  • share project vision from the project’s start;
  • review and enhance the documentation at daily meetings;
  • check-in with the remote team regularly to ensure that it is progressing in the right direction.

Security and Data Privacy Concerns

We can’t but define staff augmentation as a way to engage external specialists in the internal procedures of a particular company. But what happens if the service provider fails to meet stringent security requirements or offers to sign a poorly assembled NDA? What if the data is compromised or shared with third parties without your permission?

How can clients address those challenges?

  • choose a reliable partner that complies with security standards or industry-specific regulations (PCI DSS, HIPAA);
  • set clear data protection rules;
  • include penalties in case of non-compliance in the contract;
  • conduct regular security audits with your team.

Inconsistent Knowledge Transfer

Lack of a well-organized procedure for sharing knowledge assets can drain the resources at your disposal. It can gradually become a source of discontent for both staff augmentation collaboration. When knowledge sharing is not a part of a well-thought strategy, it can quickly fail and cause a lot of repetitive and manual work.

How can clients address that challenge?

  • define valid items that should be transferred at each stage;
  • assign responsible people for managing knowledge passing;
  • set the formal procedure for assessing the results;
  • make all the required tech documentation available for everyone concerned.

Staff Augmentation with Geomotiv

In this article, we’ve answered the question: “what does staff augmentation mean?” and described its essence, advantages, and prospective challenges. Indeed, one does not simply opt for this model without weighing all the factors. It is also necessary to choose the right service provider to solve particular issues for your case.

With 13+ years of experience in the European and US IT markets, we know how to tackle various tech and business challenges. We’ve developed a proven approach to sourcing, recruiting, and retaining suitable candidates through the years. 

Each of the developers, designers, or other specialists we supply has the right skills and experience to satisfy any project requirements. We don’t stop the recruiting process until we are sure that we’ve found the right match. But above all, we strive to remain a valuable partner after the work on each project gets started. 

For us, it is crucial to provide services that will support your business growth and help you reach your goals quickly and easily. That’s why before offering you candidates to join your team we always deeply analyze your project requirements and tech infrastructure to make sure that our candidates will have all the necessary background and expertise. We take care not only of our experts’ tech skills and English proficiency but also of their mental state and job satisfaction, which helps us to achieve a low staff turnover.

But why is IT staff augmentation with Geomotiv the right option? Here are a couple of arguments:

  • Proven to recruit processes that accelerate time-to-hire and bring to the table quality candidates;
  • A rigorous candidate testing process;
  • Constant access to a wide range of skilled specialists with proven expertise;
  • Proficiency in modern technologies to meet any gap in your in-house teams;
  • Seamless knowledge transfer;
  • Compliance with stringent security requirements;
  • Ease of scaling-up at any stage of the project;
  • Established remote work procedures;
  • Transparent reporting process;
  • Regular communication process.

Contact our outsourcing experts to share your project’s vision, and we will get back to you shortly with a personalized offering.

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